Ascent of Choctaw County High Point on 2017-01-07

Climber: Jobe Wymore

Date:Saturday, January 7, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Choctaw County High Point
    Elevation:723 ft / 220 m

Ascent Trip Report

Choctaw County, MS.
McCool Lookout, MS.
January 7, 2017
Jobe Wymore

This one turned out to be a little tougher than prior trip reports led me to believe. Regardless, I kinda had a feeling in my gut that I was in for an epic (by Mississippi standards) after taking a peek at the surrounding area and seeing that owners love posting their property. Not to mention, as luck would have it, it was hunting season. As much as Mississippians love their no trespassing signs, I think they love blowing up deer even more? They were out in force. It didn't even matter that the football playoffs were on. In some areas, "Beef, it's what's for dinner". Well, not here. Plug and play Deer for Beef and they were hungry.

In hand I had Ben Lostracco's Peakbagger TR and on my approach found the area littered with no trespassing signs. Depression started to set in. I soon rolled up on the gate he mentions starting his hike from and found it locked and blocked with a vehicle pulling a trailer. At that point I decided to circle the "peak" and see what Alan Bernier's NW approach looked like = just as bad with newly added no trespassing signs. Hmmm.

I needed to get something done so with McCool Lookout just a short distance to the south I decided to head there. Like when Ben was there, the gate was open but there were some crude "Posted" signs with a few other letters. I decided to park near the gate and do my customary slow jog towards the peak via the "rutted" dirt road. Really it wasn't that bad until it steepened around a quarter of a mile from the peak. Unfortunately the ruts were really apparent along with some fresh tire tracks embedded in the soft dirt. On I went.

Once clearing this steeper section of road I could see across a massive clear cut my objective. This place was apocalyptic with tree slash everywhere plus the logging roads that go with it. Hideous is too kind of a word for what I saw. Towards McCool Lookout the dirt road I was on continued and I could see I was going to have company. A little beat up truck with 2 individuals dressed in orange sat parked. Lucky me.

Another thing I learned from my visit to Mississippi is hunters don't like to leave their vehicles unless it's to get out and hang out in a hunting blind. The hunting blinds come in all shapes and sizes, temporary and permanent. They were everywhere during my travels. Camouflaged, green, blue, beat up and new. Everywhere! Yes, the hunters come in the same.

But the individuals in my way were content to just sit, wait and park. Wait for me to come to them like the deer they so desired. The driver instantly started to question my wandering with a harsh delivery and a back and forth ensued. By "peaceful confrontation" standards it went well, I guess. Reluctant permission was granted to continue the final 100 yards to the lookout which a pic is now posted on Peakbagger.

I exited, waved, and drove back towards the Choctaw options I'd spied on my earlier recon. I ended up parking at a home across from 2 mailboxes that had a street sign of 5248/5233. I got out and strode for the front door seeking permission to access the area via a lesser "dirt road" next to the mailboxes. As I approached the home the door opened and a curious older fellow came out standing on his porch, I stuck out my hand to shake introducing myself. He shook it back. So far so good.

By permission standards this was as easy as it gets and he, without pause, granted me permission to head up the lesser dirt road on the side of the mailboxes and also gave me the ok to back up it to get my rental off the road. Said "take the long as ya want"', so that I did. Not by choice, though.

If you were to go look at the Choctaw CoHP page on Peakbagger you'll see a provisional peak to the NW of it. Where I started my hike was just about due West of that bump on the main track you see on or near the section line. Well, this track I started on immediately ended in a few piles of old logged slash. Well, to top off my good fortune of choosing this route I quickly found myself snarled in the worst sticker vines I've ever been in. Thank goodness it was cold since I was wearing gloves, long pants and a jacket. Not so good was these items weren't of lesser quality and now have been shredded and await the dumpster.

I fought my way up the minor ridge bashing, crashing, battling these vicious vines and downed slash till finally busting out on top of a newer clear cut. The before mentioned provisional peak on Peakbagger is now a very ugly place. I'll never return.

The Choctaw CoHP can be seen across the small valley from the summit and also spied was a newer logging road that in soggier places had been reinforced with 2 inch crushed rock. Down slope I went relieved to gain access to this road but immediately paranoid once I saw it had recent fresh ATV tracks on it. Yes, those crafty hunters are everywhere in Mississippi - in trucks, on ATVs but never on foot. Sometimes their dogs are but more than likely their pooches are stashed in cages in the bed of their trucks only taken out once they return home(?). My only advice (other than to NEVER go during hunting season) is to make sure your hearing aid is turned up to high so you can hear their motorized approach from afar.

Luckily I heard no sounds and the top was reached via a forced road march in which fashion my hiking shoes became caked in red pancaked mud. The summit, just as hideous as the others, was home to a nest of buzzards that were bedded in a huge slash pile and immediately agitated by my presence. No worries as I didn't stay long in this God forsaken place. Again, image on Peakbagger.

There was no way I was going to bash my way down the route I'd "climbed" up previously so weighing the odds I stuck to the road the whole way out which turned out to be the previously mentioned newly added no trespassing signed road. It comes uncomfortably close to eyesight of a residence but nobody saw me. Probably were out hunting or posting no trespassing signs somewhere? Regardless, once back on the main track I scurried back to my rental.

I'm glad these 2 are over, as well as all my "needs" in Mississippi. I don't really ever picture myself returning to The Magnolia State. I wish all well who do, though. What a fun place but only if you own a rifle, ATV and some Walmart camouflage.
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